Chapter 24

HIS NAME WAS Patrick Madden, and he was the mayor's special envoy on recycling. His name was Patrick Madden, and he was an enemy of Project Mayhem.
I walk out into the night around First Methodist, and it's all coming back to me.
All the things that Tyler knows are all coming back to me.
Patrick Madden was compiling a list of bars where fight clubs met.
All of the sudden, I know how to run a movie projector. I know how to break locks and how Tyler had rented the house on Paper Street just before he revealed himself to me at the beach.
I know why Tyler had occurred. Tyler loved Marla. From the first night I met her, Tyler or some part of me had needed a way to be with Marla.
Not that any of this matters. Not now. But all the details are coming back to me as I walk through the night to the closest fight club.
There's a fight club in the basement of the Armory Bar on Saturday nights. You can probably find it on the list Patrick Madden was compiling, poor dead Patrick Madden.
Tonight, I go to the Armory Bar and the crowds part zipper style when I walk in. To everybody there, I am Tyler Durden the Great and Powerful. God and father.
All around me I hear, "Good evening, sir."
"Welcome to fight club, sir."
"Thank you for joining us, sir."
Me, my monster face just starting to heal. The hole in my face smiling through my cheek. A frown on my real mouth.
Because I'm Tyler Durden, and you can kiss my ass, I register to fight every guy in the club that night. Fifty fights. One fight at a time. No shoes. No shirts.
The fights go on as long as they have to.
And if Tyler loves Marla.
I love Marla.
And what happens doesn't happen in words. I want to smother all the French beaches I'll never see. Imagine stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around Rockefeller Center.
The first fight I get, the guy gets me in a full nelson and rams my face, rams my cheek, rams the hole in my cheek into the concrete floor until my teeth inside snap off and plant their jagged roots into my tongue.
Now I can remember Patrick Madden, dead on the floor, his little figurine of a wife, just a little girl with a chignon. His wife giggled and tried to pour champagne between her dead husband's lips.
The wife said the fake blood was too, too red. Mrs. Patrick Madden put two fingers in the blood pooled next to her husband and then put the fingers in her mouth.
The teeth planted in my tongue, I taste the blood.
Mrs. Patrick Madden tasted the blood.
I remember being there on the outskirts of the murder mystery party with the space monkey waiters standing bodyguard around me. Marla in her dress with a wallpaper pattern of dark roses watched from the other side of the ballroom.
My second fight, the guy puts a knee between my shoulder blades. The guy pulls both my arms together behind my back, and slams my chest into the concrete floor. My collarbone on one side, I hear it snap.
I would do the Elgin Marbles with a sledgehammer and wipe my ass with the Mona Lisa.
Mrs. Patrick Madden held her two bloody fingers up, the blood climbing the cracks between her teeth, and the blood ran down her fingers, down her wrist, across a diamond bracelet, and to her elbow where it dripped.
Fight number three, I wake up and it's time for fight number three. There are no more names in fight club.
You aren't your name.
You aren't your family.
Number three seems to know what I need and holds my head in the dark and the smother. There's a sleeper hold that gives you just enough air to stay awake. Number three holds my head in the crook of his arm, the way he'd hold a baby or a football, in the crook of his arm, and hammers my face with the pounding molar of his clenched fist.
Until my teeth bite through the inside of my cheek.
Until the hole in my cheek meets the corner of my mouth, the two run together into a ragged leer that opens from under my nose to under my ear.
Number three pounds until his fist is raw.
Until I'm crying.
How everything you ever love will reject you or die.
Everything you ever create will be thrown away.
Everything you're proud of will end up as trash.
I am Ozymandias, king of kings.
One more punch and my teeth click shut on my tongue. Half of my tongue drops to the floor and gets kicked away.
The little figurine of Mrs. Patrick Madden knelt on the floor next to the body of her husband, the rich people, the people they called friends, towering drunk around her and laughing.
The wife, she said, "Patrick?"
The pool of blood spreading wider and wider until it touches her skirt.
She says, "Patrick, that's enough, stop being dead."
The blood climbs the hem of her skirt, capillary action, thread to thread, climbing her skirt.
Around me the men of Project Mayhem are screaming.
Then Mrs. Patrick Madden is screaming.
And in the basement of the Armory Bar, Tyler Durden slips to the floor in a warm jumble. Tyler Durden the great, who was perfect for one moment, and who said that a moment is the most you could ever expect from perfection.
And the fight goes on and on because I want to be dead. Because only in death do we have names. Only in death are we no longer part of Project Mayhem.

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